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Opinion

Capital suggestion

January 4, 2015

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Necessary but not sufficient

Capital suggestion
Fact 1: Over the period 2003-2014, fatalities in terrorist violence in Pakistan stand at 55,973. Fact 2: In the 1965 war, our casualty count stood at 3,800 martyred. Fact 3: In the 1971 war, our casualty count stood at 9,000 martyred (Encyclopedia of the developing world). Fact 4: We have already lost 55,973 lives and there have been 5,102 bomb blasts.
Question 1: Are we in a state of war or is this a law-enforcement issue?
Question 2: Are the forces that have taken 55,973 Pakistani lives ‘common criminals’ or are they ‘enemy combatants’?
Fact 5: On December 16, 2014 seven monsters – and their collaborators – took the lives of 132 children.
Question 3: Are these monsters – and their collaborators – ‘common criminals’ or ‘enemy combatants’?
Question 4: Can we avert another attack on our children by treating the Peshawar tragedy as ‘ordinary homicides’?
Fact 6: Over the period 2008-2012, at “least 14,115 persons have been acquitted in terrorism-related cases by the country’s Anti-Terrorism Courts” and some “10,387 people booked in similar cases were granted bail.”
Question 5: What are the goals of our criminal justice system?
Answer: Incapacitation, punishment and deterrence during peacetime. Criminal justice systems around the world are designed to “prevent crime by preventing known offenders from continuing their criminal behaviour”.
To be sure, for us to win the war, military courts are necessary. To be sure, for us to win the war military courts are not sufficient – we will need to do a lot more. So far our military is the only institution that has restructured itself to fight the war.
Look at the XI Corps and look at how it has restructured itself to beat this unconventional enemy. Look at the Special Services Group (SSG) and look at how the SSC has restructured itself to beat the enemy. Look at the Army Aviation Corps and look at how its squadrons have

restructured to beat the enemy. Look at the PAF and look at how the PAF has restructured itself to beat the enemy.
But, it is not just Pak military’s war. For us to win the war we will have to restructure the media, the judicial organ, the civil administrative machinery, our political structure, our mosque-madressah infrastructure, our financial watchdogs and our public school curricula. For us to win the war every Pakistani institution must give all they have in order to guarantee the military defeat of the enemy.
The killing of 55,973 Pakistanis is clearly not a law-enforcement issue. We are clearly in a state of war – and that calls for wartime conduct. To be certain, no civilian criminal justice system in the world is designed for wartime conduct. To be certain, no civilian criminal justice system in the world is designed to take on enemy combatants.
Questions: Do we need to build a political consensus to fight a war against terror? Answer: Remember; the “quickest way of ending a war is to lose it”.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

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